Story Time with Grandma

My mom has been here visiting for a few days and my kids have pretty much been in heaven!

Yeah…. I’mma need to live close to my Mom.

When we first got married, we lived out in Connecticut, a long ways away from my parents and my in-laws.  Once we had Amelia, I realized just how much I wanted to be closer to my family and back in the Midwest.  I really did like living in Connecticut; New Haven had some amazing restaurants and museums, the Long Island Sound was beautiful, and the proximity to Boston and NYC made it a great place for us to live as a young married couple.   But living in the city of New Haven with a newborn really wasn’t something we were excited about doing.

But mostly, if we’re being honest:  I’m a total homebody, momma-and-daddy’s girl, family-first kind of person.   Big time.  I missed my mom and dad.

Now that we’ve been back in the Midwest for a few years, I know we’ve made the right choice.  We get to see our family so much more than we ever would have if we were still out East.  And now, it’s just a tank of gas rather than airfare to see them!

Books and Bedtimes

So back to now: My mom came to visit for a few days.  She helped out at our little Montessori school at the holiday bazaar, took Amelia to a Christmas Tea, and spent a ton of time just lovin’ on my kiddos.  Getting to see this two nights in a row absolutely made my days!!

 

Amelia with Grandma.jpg

Amelia and my mom, reading the “Picture Atlas” from Usbourne Books.  So fun to hear Amelia’s questions about the world!
Henry and Grandma

Henry and my mom reading about pirates.  This book came with a little wind-up pirate ship that races along tracks that are IN THE BOOK.  FOR REALZ.  Want to get your kids more interested in reading?  Put a friggin’ moving pirate ship IN THE BOOK.

So yeah – these little moments make me even more certain that we did the right thing for our family to be a bit closer!

You can find these books – two of our faves! – right here! 

Halloween is for Kids. And Moms that Want to be Kids.

Amelia Glowing Mummies

I love this time of year!  Not just the changing weather, the leaves turning, and the apple-cider-everything, either.  So much of this time of year seems aimed at the young and young-at-heart.  Halloween, pumpkin picking, apple picking, costume parades, etc.

Amelia Mummies 2And now, you can raise your Halloween game with Jamberry’s NEWEST design feat.

Last weekend I was able to go to Jamberry’s “Summit” in Indianapolis.  As a reward for attending, we were given an advance set of their newest product – GLOW-IN-THE-DARK wraps.  The Indianapolis attendees were given a full sheet of “All Wrapped Up” – the cutest mummies your nails have ever worn.  My 5-year-old daughter saw them and I knew immediately what I was doing the next time I had a free ten minutes!  With the adult-size wraps, her manicure took three wraps out of the entire sheet.

And it gets better:

Not just mummies, but “Glowing Ghouls” and “Trick or Treat” are part of the Jamberry Halloween line-up.  The ghosts are really cute – I think I like them better than the mummies.  But who can resist little piggies all dressed up as mummies???

21854975410_2eb913f352_b Glow Wraps

If you’re into Jams for the 5-free aspect, don’t worry.  Jamberry has figured out a way to get these to glow – WITHOUT formaldehyde, a pretty huge accomplishment!

This is the time of year that I turn into *that mom*.  

Henry is planning on being “Captain ‘Merica – Soldier Guy” (his words), which doesn’t give me a lot of leeway in the creativity department.  For the first time since I’ve had kiddos, I bought a Halloween costume.  (It’s CUTE, and I totally get why people buy costumes. I’m not a homemade-or-nothing-snob.)

Shake Your TailfeatherAmelia, on the other hand, is planning on being a Peacock-Princess-Ballerina, which gives me a chance to play with feathers, tutus, sparkles, and give her another Jamicure closer to Halloween.  Because you know that no kiddo of mine is going to be a peacock for Halloween and NOT rock these “Shake Your Tailfeather” Jams!! So be on the lookout for that post in a few weeks!

When Your Kiddo Wants to be a Fairy

My daughter marches to the beat of her own drums.   She dresses to the beat of her own drums.  One tutu? Pshaw.  Make it seven.  Don’t mix patterns?  As if.  Stripes, plaids, glitter hearts, and polka dots should ALWAYS go together.  I LOVE this about my little girl.  She’s sweet, sassy, super creative, and oh-so-confident.

And She Wants to Be a Fairy When She Grows Up.

Amelia Wants to be a FairyA couple of years ago, Amelia’s class had a “Community Helpers” week at preschool.  They learned all about firefighters, police, nurses, doctors, teachers, etc.  At the end of the week, each child was asked what they wanted to be when they grow up.  Amelia: “A Fairy.”  No doubt in her mind.  Her teacher tried asking again – but Amelia stuck with it.  She has a life plan all set up for herself.

I totally get it.  Who WOULDN’T want to be able to fly with magical fairy dust and live in a house made of flowers? And according to Amelia, they wear the very best fairy dresses and have wings made out of glass.  Sign me up for that fabulousness!

Part of me knows I’ll eventually have to let her know that “Fairy” isn’t a socially-acceptable occupation for a middle-aged gal.

I know that just like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and a low-cal candy bar that actually tastes good, I will eventually have to talk to my daughter about the fiction of fairies.  But not now.  Not for a long time.  I LOVE the creative, make-believe, fantastical world that my little girl lives in.  That kind of imagination and complete abandon shows me that she feels totally comfortable just being whoever – and whatever – she wants.  Want to be a fairy?  Go for it!  Why not?  Want to wear 14 hair bows?  Sure!  Flaunt it if you’ve got it.

(Seriously – have you read the “Fancy Nancy” books?  That’s my kid – and her friends – right now.)

But then, a fellow beribboned, bedazzled, and tu-tu’d gymnast told her it wasn’t possible.

When we left preschool gymnastics a couple of weeks ago, Amelia was quiet and upset.  When I asked her what’s wrong, she told me that another girl in her class told her that she in fact CAN’T be a fairy when she grows up, because they don’t exist and she has to have a “real” job.

Okay.

These kids are five.

FIVE.

Is it just me?? Or is it a little sad that this other kid already has this mentality?  Yes, a huge part of me felt bad for Amelia, because her little dream world now has a little fracture in it; there’s now a little dark spot of doubt for her that she might not be able to grow up and have the occupation of her dreams: Flying around with a trail of glitter and making rainbows for forest animals to slide down.

But for the most part, I just thought, “Who IS this kid??”  Who is this five-year-old that already has the mentality of what’s a “real” job?  Is her response “accountant” or “political action committee lobbyist” when asked by a classmate what her dream occupation is?

I know that Amelia is the more naive and innocent of the two kiddos in this situation, and that the other girl is most likely just a bit more mature, a bit more of a realist, etc.  But the bleeding-heart momma in me wants to take that girl out into the backyard, weave dandelion necklaces with her, and play make-believe with her with my kids.  Just to have her be a true KID for a little bit longer.  People said it to me so much when I was pregnant: “Enjoy it!” “It goes so fast!” “Before you know it, she’ll be in school!”  I heard it so much I stopped even responding.  But it’s TRUE.  Oh man is it ever true.

Amelia and the Magnifying GlassSo nope.  I’m not going to tell my kid just yet that Tinker Bell isn’t real, or that she’s not going to be able to live in a house made out of dew drops and acorn caps.  And if I’m being honest, part of my reasoning is because I want to see that world through her eyes.  I want to experience a little bit of a world where I’m not worried about bills, politics, the economy, and world peace.  (Reality – laundry and dirty dishes.)

Either way, It’s Not Going to Be an Easy Discussion.  Her Back-Up Plan is “Be a Kid” When She Grows Up.

Had I known that was an option, I would have signed up.  Being an adult is for the birds some days.

Twenty-eight Different Reasons. And Counting.

One of the executives on my team asked us this question the other day: “Why did you join Jamberry?”

We all love the same product – but we’re all here for different reasons.

She got hundreds of responses.  She put them all together for us to see the variety of people on our team, our different motivations, and that the opportunity that we have with this company provides something for everyone, regardless of our differences.

Why join Jamberry

At this point, my own motivation is a mix of about 10 of these.  My biggest one – to have something fun for myself that ALSO helps my family.  Have you ever thought about being a part of Jamberry or another direct-sales company?  What’s the motivation behind YOUR desire to take a chance?

Lessons Learned from JamCon – (a.k.a. Girls’ Week Away!)

I spent a huge part of last week at the Jamberry International Conference at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, Texas.  I went with my sister-in-law, a handful of gals from our immediate team, and 5000 of my closest Jam Friends.  Here’s what I’m taking from the experience!

  • The Gaylord Texan is ENORMOUS.  It’s quite possibly the size of my hometown when I was a kid.  There was a RIVERWALK.  With a “real” river.  (Ahem – man-made.)  The picture below?  It doesn’t even show the gargantuan glass atrium, complete with bell tower, the water park, or a huge portion of the convention center.   You can work off your margarita(s) just by trying to find your room.  And that water park?  You have to take a SHUTTLE to get to it because the property is so big.
  • Gaylord Texan
    The Gaylord Texan Pic: http://www.marriott.com

    wA good lazy river is better than therapy.  We showed up after an insanely early flight out of Chicago (hat tip: United Airlines!).  I was coming off of a few manic days with my kiddos, who were beyond excited that their grandparents were watching them while I was gone and my husband was at work.  Candy-store levels of excitement.  Which means I was certifiable levels of crazy.

    But that lazy river… We stopped for lunch (nachos – see below) and immediately made our way over there.  Via hotel shuttle, because TEXAS!! After hanging on the inner tube for a few trips around, I became a normal person again.  Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE my little babies to the moon and back.  And I was expecting to feel guilt-beyond-measure about being away.  The lazy river solved that one.  (Until my sis saw a couple of cute redheads that reminded her of her boys she left home, at which point we jumped back in the tubes and did our water therapy a little longer.

    Pro Tip:  If you go, there are some MAJOR jets and waterfalls going on at this attraction.  So keep your wits about you.  You’ve been warned.

Lazy River
The Gaylord Texan Lazy River Pic: http://www.Marriott.com
  • You can in fact laugh until your core muscles refuse to hold your body upright.  Hot Jam – you can take the girls to a professional event, but you can’t make them act like grown-ups.
  • Our CEO is a pretty awesome person to be leading a company filled with moms.  Most people familiar with Jamberry know that it was founded by three sisters who wanted an at-home option for no-chip manicures.  Some people even know that the husband of one of the sisters, Adam Hepworth,  is our CEO.  I had heard him speak several times via leader calls and YouTube videos on our dashboard, so I knew he came across as a very likeable and approachable person.  He and his wife have a newborn little boy, who made the trip from Utah to Dallas with them for conference.

    At one of the meetings on leadership, he was scheduled to give our presentation.  But… his wife was exhausted and occupied and the baby was asleep in his stroller.  So he did what any dad would do: He walked that kid back and forth in the stroller to keep him from waking up.  You know the drill.  Except he did it while addressing the leaders of the organization, many of whom happen to be moms.

    Check it out:

    (Photo Courtesy of S. Normand)
    (Photo Courtesy of S. Normand)
  • NACHOS.  Seriously.  If you ever go to the Gaylord, go to the Riverwalk Cantina and get the Nachos.  Wear your eating pants.  You can easily feed a couple of people with this plate of happiness.  Which is good, since the plate of happiness is kind of spendy.
  • Five-thousand women in one room learning about new products?  The loudest experience of my life.

    Re-enactment:
    “GEL POLISH!” **SQUEE**
    “NEW LACQUER COLORS” **WOOOOOOOT**
    “CATALOG REVEAL”  **YOU CAN HAVE MY FIRST BORN**

  • My team of girls is inspiring, hilarious, and down-to-earth. I just wish my sis was in the picture – but she was busy being recognized at the EXECUTIVE dinner.  Holla!
  • PaJAMaPartyA 35th birthday should be spent dancing with your girlfriends.

    Birthday Selfie Suz and Meg

  • Or standing in line to ride a bull (I cannot express how thankful I am that the line was too long for it to actually happen.) Also – Peacock Jams!

    Suz at Denim Diamonds
    How this happened: “Hey! Let’s give Suz Jamberry Punch and challenge her to ride the mechanical bull!” – The most maniacal SIL in the world
  • Liquor licenses in Texas are either extremely lax or super easy to skirt around.

TX Liquor Laws are Interesting

Mostly, I learned that I can give over control to my hubs and everything will be perfect.  It reaffirmed that my sister-in-law is my best friend and I’m so happy to be doing this with her.  I learned that total strangers can become some really amazing friends.  And that a CEO will push a sleeping baby back-and-forth in a stroller while giving an important presentation.  Because Hell hath no fury like an awakened baby.

June – Or, Begin the Crazy!!

Today is my kiddo’s last FULL day of school for the year.  After today, I’ll have a full-fledged Kindergartner on my hands.  I am absolutely amazed.  It really does seem like it’s flown by.  Everyone tells you that when you’re pregnant, and most of the time you can keep yourself from rolling your eyes.  But it’s so true.  Even thinking that about Henry starting preschool in the Fall makes me wonder where in the world my babies went!

So June = Let the Good Times Roll

Amelia will be home from school for the summer – the first time in two years!  (We had her in a summer program most mornings the last two summers.)  So far, we’re raising ladybugs, planning tea parties and fairy-garden-planting parties, trips to the pool, frog-catching, fishing, four different camping expeditions, and three campfires – don’t forget the marshmallows.  And that’s *just* what Amelia and Henry have planned for us during their Team Toddler Huddle.

mc2j6Kids Camping

So for today, I’m enjoying some quiet time to start my June! 

As I said, today is Amelia’s last full day.  Which is giving me some time to catch up and plan ahead!

What are YOUR plans for the summer?  Any good tips for super active, fun-loving, hilarious and slightly prone-to-maiming-each other kiddos?

Montessori and Jamberry Nails – Match Made in Teacher Heaven

My daughter goes to the local Montessori school (I’ve raved about it pretty rabidly here before), and the end of the year is coming up.  Normally, I stress at the end of the year about teacher gifts that are personal and will actually get used.  This year, I have it.  FINALLY.  Amelia is super proud of her new writing skills, and since it’s actually “legible,” I’ll let her write the note thanking her teacher for an amazing year.  (In her own words, so who knows what it will end up saying).   But for the gift part….

Montessori and Jamberry Nails – Match Made in Teacher Heaven

Amelia’s teacher and her teenage daughter LOVE themselves some Jams.  Her daughter may be one of my best customers – and I LOVE when they show me pics to prove it!  Homecoming, Easter, Christmas – they seriously pumped up the Jams.  (Ha!) So for an end-of-the-year gift, I used Jamberry’s Nail Art Studio to create her very own design, filled with pictures from her classroom.

Ms. Chiste's Class

One of the things about Montessori is all of the beautiful materials and activities involved in every aspect of the child’s day.  From gorgeous colored beads for math, to flower arranging, and back to glass and ceramic objects for pouring, polishing, and art, the materials in the room make the classroom feel like the happiest place in town.

Montessori - NAS - Watermarked

I LOVE the super bright colors!  The “paintings” in the design are Amelia’s “metal inset work;” the kiddos trace the shapes, learning pencil grasp, shape names, and get used to writing the curved and straight lines that they’ll need later on for writing letters.  Then if you’re lucky and give your teacher a big smile, she’ll let you paint the shapes with glitter watercolors.  (PS – The first few times Amelia came home she called them “Metal Insects,” which has STUCK like glue in our household as the name for the lesson!)


Sidenote: I’ll be writing about Amelia’s school quite often; it’s one of my top reasons for being in this Jamberry gig!  I love that I’m getting to help her (and her brother next Fall) get to go to this little school and be a part of the community that supports it!

Things I’ve Learned From My Kids – And a Giveaway!

My Crazy Children <3
My Crazy Children <3Things I’ve Learned From My Kids

This week has been a crazy one.  Actually, this last month has been a crazy one.  Henry has been teething (MOLARS!! **shakes fist at sky**), Amelia turned five, and the weather FINALLY started getting warm – for more than a day or two at a time.

In the midst of all of this chaos, I’ve learned a couple of things from my kids:

1. Turning five means you’ll suddenly be able to reach higher shelves.  (Not true.)

2. Teething will make even the most happy-go-lucky kid act like a rabid dingo.

3.  You CAN in fact have an argument with another human being about whether they’re wearing underpants.  (The two-year-old wasn’t.  He swears he was).

4.  Having kids will make you realize that your own parents were superheroes for your own survival of childhood.  Especially if one of your own kids is “a climber.”


And Now…. It’s Giveaway Time!! 

For a FREE sheet of Jamberry Nails – that’s a month (or more!) of no-chip manicures to flaunt – comment below with your FAVORITE lesson learned from your kids (or someone else’s kids!!) – one random winner will be chosen from all comments below!  The winner will be announced on Friday, April 24th!